Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 28

Volunteers box up food to be delivered to those in need in South
Georgia. According to national reports and the U.S. Census, the area
served by Second Harvest has the highest poverty and food-insecurity
rates in the state, and the pandemic made the problem worse.
AgGeorgia's funding was a win-win for South Georgia
residents and farmers. It helped launch the program, McCall
says, while other donations came in to keep it going.
" We could raise money and buy local produce, and the
farmers would have a [way to sell what was produced], and
we would be able to use it for our feeding program, " she says.
" [AgGeorgia Farm Credit was] extremely generous. But that's
what the farming community does. I grew up on a farm, and
neighbors take care of each other. "
A model program
Homegrown Help could become a role model for other
farm-to-food-bank programs statewide.
Gov. Brian Kemp has proposed legislation in the 2022
General Assembly session addressing shortages of fresh produce
in regional food banks. While food banks receive funding
from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Emergency Food
Assistance Program, there are no funds at the state level.
The governor would like to change that and has included
money for food banks in his budget. If lawmakers agree,
food banks could apply for farm-to-food-bank funds through
competitive grants.
Danah Craft, executive director of the Georgia Food Bank
Association, fully supports Kemp's efforts.
" We're grateful to the governor for recognizing this solid tie
between the food banks and the Georgia farmers and the fresh
produce they can provide to feed the hungry, " she says.
Craft says grants will give food banks the ability to purchase
the farmers' top-selling produce-the crops they go to market
with to pay their bills.
" Being able to pay the [full] market price for it puts the food
bank in the position of planning with the growers, " she says.
28 Georgia Magazine March 2022
Blueberries grown at Naturipe Farms in Alma are among the
Georgia-grown produce distributed to food-insecure households in
South Georgia through the Homegrown Help program, which aims to
help local farmers as well as those in need of healthy food.
She says programs like Homegrown Help strengthen the
local food system.
" It really is a win-win for the local economy and for the
people who need healthy, nutritious food, " Craft says.
Plans for growth
Food banks also need the proper equipment to handle the
produce, such as coolers and refrigerated trucking, as well as a
network to distribute food quickly to people in need. Craft says
Georgia is in a strong position because food banks have made
these investments in the last six years.
Work continues to make sure that there is proper food
storage available at the distribution point. Adding refrigeration
at the " last-mile pickup " continues to be where food banks are
investing, Craft says.
Second Harvest has refrigeration in place to handle produce
and envisions taking Homegrown Help to the next level.
A new, larger headquarters facility in Valdosta is in the
planning stages, and with it will come greater capacity to handle
fresh produce from Georgia farms. Second Harvest is especially
interested in helping small growers who are veterans and people
with disabilities.
Plans include recruiting and contracting with farmers to
grow specific crops at specific times. Produce could be graded,
washed and packed on-site.
The produce would be used for Second Harvest feeding
programs and sold to institutions such as school systems,
McCall says. Even food waste could supply an animal feeder
program or be used for composting.
" We will take this initial idea [Homegrown Help] and expand
it and be able to offer more help to farmers, " McCall says.
Laura Berrios is a freelance writer who lives in Alpharetta.

Georgia Magazine - March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - March 2022

Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 4
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 5
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 6
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 7
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 8
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 9
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 10
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 11
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 12
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 13
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 14
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 15
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 16
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 17
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 18
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 19
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 20
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 21
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 22
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 23
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 24
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 25
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 26
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 27
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 28
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 29
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 30
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 31
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 32
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 33
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 34
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 35
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 36
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 37
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 38
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 39
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 40
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 41
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 42
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 43
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 44
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 45
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - 46
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - March 2022 - Cover4
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